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Taking Steps in Recovery

by James Heller 28. September 2009 14:56
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

If recovery from alcohol dependence and drug addiction was easy, there would be no need for alcohol and drug treatment centers, counselors, books, or support groups.  Alcoholics and drug addicts could simply end their use of a substance and get back into life.  But while it isn’t necessarily easy, recovery doesn’t need to be difficult either.

Re-entering society from a life in the fog can be frightening.  The solution to this type of fear comes from the suggestion to live “one day at a time”.  Truly, it is easier for the addicted to live without their substance of choice for 24 hours rather than a lifetime.  But this process also sneakily teaches individuals to live in the present, and not worry about the future.

The addict mind will worry about retirement when they are only at age 26, and feel paralyzed.  Or they will dwell hopelessly on solving their entire debt problem, and endure the daily ritual of asking “what’s the use?” One day at a time soon translates to one thing at a time, turning what once looked like a difficult steep climb into a slow and easy uphill walk.

Specifically in the 12 Step programs, individuals tend to fear future steps, amends, or relapse.  This causes a great deal of unnecessary stress.  Some individuals suggest that you look at your feet.  Where are they? The answer is “here and now”.  Work on the step you are on, and keep your head in today.

With this frame of mind, the 12 Steps can be thought of as a real set of stairs.  Would you walk up an entire flight of stairs when the 2nd and 3rd were not completed? You might, but since steps 4 through 12 rely on the foundation of those two, it could really hurt.  So each step must be completed before the next can be started in order to build a secure recovery.

Be completely honest with yourself, open-minded to suggestions, and willing to change.  Use this mixture for each step; let it set in, then start work on the next step using the foundation of the previous one.  You will find the transition from step to step easy, and life will change for the better in recovery.

Each step will present challenges.  But by following the suggestions above you will be less likely to hear yourself say “This is hard!” Use your free will to make life better by completing whichever program of recovery you choose.  In the end, it is your motivation for recovery that will lead you to a better life.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles encourages patients to attend 12 Step meetings during and after alcohol and drug treatment.  Our Native American alcohol and drug treatment benefits individuals with tradition and ceremony to build long-term recovery.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Paul Williams Is Big In Recovery

by James Heller 28. September 2009 08:29
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Stories about the negative behaviors of famous people have been increasing in recent years.  The reason may not be that more of the famous are getting into trouble, but that there are more media outlets that gain from the promotion of negative stories.  In either case, this is a good time to give credit to three people of fame who exhibit positive behavior to help others in need; John Whitaker, Paul Williams, and Rip Taylor.

Paul Williams’ contributions to music and film are big.  His musical accomplishments, as noted on his website, have made him an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning Hall of Fame songwriter.  “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “You and Me Against the World,” “An Old Fashioned Love Song” “I Won’t Last a Day Without You” and “Let Me Be The One” are among his timeless standards.  

Who can forget his performance as Little Enos in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy? His incredible sense of humor also made him a big hit on the talk show circuit.  The list of Paul’s work is so long that we can’t fit it here, so visit his website for more information at http://www.paulwilliamsconnection.org.

But Paul’s fame could not protect him from alcohol dependence.  He explains the severity of his experience on his website, saying, "You know you’re an alcoholic when you misplace a decade."  As the disease of addiction goes, Paul says “There was something inside my chest saying ‘It isn’t enough’” and “Alcohol made me feel big enough to deal with the rest of the world”.

Bigger than his feat in show business (a statement he would answer with a height joke), and more important than his lost years, Paul has made life in recovery a labor of love helping others who suffer.  He is a graduate of the UCLA Addiction Studies program, and soon after began what he jests as the “Pauli Lama” period of his life.  Soon after, he settled into a balanced life of recovery and service.

He was very active in the early days of the Musicians Assistance Program, now covered by MusiCares.  Quoting Buddy Arnold, Paul says that “Musicians are traditionally over-medicated and under-insured”.  He saw a chance to help his peers in the music business, and has now expanded that to all in recovery.

Paul now lives his life following the principles of a system of recovery, “…through this amazing connection of one alcoholic talking to another”.  He speaks to groups in recovery, and recently was the main speaker at the San Fernando Valley Rally for Recovery in support of National Recovery Month 2009.  Publicly, he is always willing to discuss the positive role recovery has played in his life.

Sober almost 20 years, Paul is still making hits and was recently honored by his peers in the industry with an Emmy nomination for his song "I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus" from a Muppets Christmas:  Letters to Santa! But today, with his continued success in show business, he is an example of positive behavior that all should be aware of.  We wish Paul continued success and continued recovery.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment, as well as an alumni association to help ensure long-term recovery.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Johnny Whitaker - A Positive Influence For People In Recovery

by James Heller 23. September 2009 12:26
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Stories about the negative behaviors of famous people have been increasing in recent years.  The reason may not be that more of the famous are getting into trouble, but that there are more media outlets that gain from the promotion of negative stories.  In either case, this is a good time to give credit to three people of fame who exhibit positive behavior to help others in need; John Whitaker, Paul Williams, and Rip Taylor.

Johnny Whitaker is best known as a child star in the shows Family Affair and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and the movie Tom Sawyer where he gave Jodi Foster her first on-screen kiss.  While remaining active in show business today, John’s primary vocation is in alcohol and drug treatment as a counselor and the San Fernando Valley Chapter Liaison for the A.W.A.R.E. (Always Working toward Advancing Recovery Environments) program.

John’s story of addiction and recovery is different from the usual “troubled child star” gossip paper article.  As an example of how his addiction unfolded, he says “I believe that if you are born with the disease of addiction, it will catch you at some time in life”.

A religious upbringing allowed John to enjoy his childhood fame, and not experiment with alcohol, drugs, and other negative behaviors the public often hears about.  Instead, he says that he experimented a little with alcohol and drugs later on in high school.  Like many alcoholics and addicts, it took a traumatic personal experience to trigger heavy drinking and drug use.

This painful experience challenged John’s religious beliefs, and he “took a trip to the dark side” as a resentful answer.  After some years, his family staged an intervention and he agreed to enter treatment.  He speaks with sadness about friends who were also child stars and were lost to alcohol and drugs, like Anissa Jones and Dana Plato, with the common alcoholic’s wish that they had found what he had.

In 2003, at a time when John was not working, a friend suggested he take some classes on chemical dependency at Pierce College.  Reluctant at first, he relented and soon became interested in the prospect of helping alcoholics and addicts to find recovery as he had.  Once certified, he became a counselor at Tarzana Treatment Centers and is now the Alumni Coordinator.

John’s work with the A.W.A.R.E program offers him the chance to help individuals extend their recovery time and enjoy the sober life.  He coordinates events with local treatment centers and publishes a newsletter to inform local recovering individuals about them.

AWARE is a statewide self-advocacy program that involves those in treatment and recovery, their family members and significant others. Through AWARE, individuals have the opportunity to share their personal and collective experiences of AOD treatment and recovery with policy makers and the community at large. AWARE offers a range of strategies to distribute, collect, and analyze information that is important to the recovery community. Self-advocacy activities are available to multiple treatment agencies and individuals in the recovery community throughout the state of California.

John’s story is a reminder that the disease of addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful.  The beliefs that protected him as a famous child were not enough to make the disease impotent.  The disease sat dormant until an opportunity was presented to strike, and it struck hard.  He is one of the blessed few who survived active addiction and now enjoy a life of recovery rather than the sad alternative that is seen too much by the public these days.

That trademark smile is still unmistakably Johnny’s.  His passion for helping others in recovery is obvious after only a short, five minute conversation.  And he is a fine example of positive influence coming from the show business world.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles has an alumni association so patients can attend events with others in recovery after alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Urges To Drink in Recovery

by James Heller 22. September 2009 07:08

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Studies on alcoholism regarding the urge to drink alcohol are plentiful.  But no consensus has been achieved due to widely conflicting variables during testing, therefore in the results.  While it would be helpful in a clinical sense to know what drives these urges, alcoholics in recovery need to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

An urge can be defined as a strong, restless desire.  Anyone in recovery from alcohol dependence understands this feeling.  Urges can last for a moment or longer, can recur, and, more important, can lead to obsessions and relapse if they are left alone.

Urges occur over the lifetime of all alcoholics.  The good news is that the intensity and frequency of urges decrease significantly over the first few months of recovery.  Building a strong foundation in recovery is important during this time so that decreasing trend continues.  

Urges, in this context, are a function of alcohol cravings.  Alcohol Cravings decrease to a tolerable level within the first few months in recovery as do urges.  Medications, like Vivitrol, are being used to reduce these cravings so they don’t interfere with the critical foundational days in recovery.  And if cravings can be reduced, then the urges tend to go with them.

A free program by Alkermes, the makers of Vivitrol, called Touchpoints Recovery Support can be helpful to even those not taking Vivitrol.  The website at http://www.touchpointsrecoverysupport.com not only offers some tracking tools like the Urge to Drink Monitor and Recovery Status Monitor, but also offers useful activities like the Drink Refusal Exercise.

As sober days add up to 1 year, 2 years, 5, 10, and beyond, the urge to drink decreases at a slower pace, which is almost unnoticeable.  It gradually loses power over alcoholics with each passing year in recovery, although alcohol never completely loses its grip on alcoholics.  Instead of being a threatening experience, urges can be a reminder of what once was and how life can again be after “just one drink”.

When an urge hits an individual whose life has improved significantly in recovery, it tends to be for only a fleeting moment that may even bring laughter.  Keeping a fresh memory of how bad life was with alcohol makes the thought of drinking absurd.  These are especially good times to talk to others in recovery as they will benefit as much as you will.

Building a strong foundation in early recovery is the best overall defense against urges during the sober life of an alcoholic.  Medication assisted treatment with Vivitrol in early recovery can help reduce cravings and urges so the focus can be on laying that foundation.  Setting this stage for your future recovery will decrease the power of urges, and allows for meaningful and laughter-filled conversations.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides Vivitrol in alcohol treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you or a loved one needs alcohol detox or alcohol and drug treatment, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

For more information on Vivitrol, contact us via email at vivitrol@tarzanatc.org.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Processing Feelings in Recovery

by James Heller 21. September 2009 07:21
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Feelings can be downright scary to alcoholics and addicts.  Whether active in their disease or in recovery, all emotions can drive them to use their substance of choice.  There is a reason for this syndrome, and better solutions than “tuning out”.

The disease of addiction is marked by the lack of a certain defense from emotions in its sufferers.  Feelings of all types can be overwhelming at any time.  The manifestation is rather complicated.  But, in large part, alcoholics drink alcohol and addicts use drugs to escape these seemingly overwhelming feelings.

Whether it is happiness, sadness, anger, love, or any other feeling, alcohol or drugs (along with some behaviors) are used by addicts to suppress them.  These feelings rarely get processed, and the end result is a body full of “stuffed” feelings.  This effect continues as long as alcohol, drugs or behaviors are used as a solution.

During the process of alcohol or drug detox, all of the stuffed feelings begin to surface much like a volcano.  In a medical detoxification center, having counselors available to help patients process these intense feelings is critical.  This is a time when addicts feel a desperate need to find a solution to this problem of feelings.

Even in recovery, when all past feelings have been processed and dealt with, daily life can bring challenges to alcoholics and drug addicts.  The urge to suppress feelings continues for life unless tools are learned to process them.

There are two simple steps that can help recovering individuals to process feelings as they arise:
1. Identify the Feeling
2. Feel the feeling

If you are happy, smile and laugh.  If you are sad, find a friend or quiet place and cry.  If you are angry, try to understand where the anger comes from.  Don’t act on anger.  Just process it.  Two items that can help you identify feelings is a pen and a notepad.  Writing about your feelings also helps in processing.

Identifying feelings is a challenge at first because the habit has been to avoid them for so long.  But it gets easier over time.  Fear of feelings minimizes quickly because you will see that there is nothing to fear.  The best result is that you get to know yourself, and others get to know you.
 
Do not let slip-ups in this area get you down.  Understanding your feelings, and being comfortable with them, will help you learn to laugh at yourself.  Find a friend in recovery and talk about it.  Then write about it.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles staffs counselors in alcohol and drug detox as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  Mental health professionals are also available for patients with co-occurring disorders.  If you need help with drug addiction or alcoholism, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

The Stigma of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction in Recovery

by James Heller 18. September 2009 07:37
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

It is a sad aspect of our society that the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction is stigmatized as a simple weakness.  This can be a challenge for a recovering person trying to live a normal social life.  But the responsibility of bringing awareness to the public is different on personal and organizational levels.

Since 1935, all research has pointed to the fact that addiction is a disease.  The Federal and State governments, as well as the media, overwhelmingly support the concept, and laws have been enacted to treat and protect alcoholics and addicts.  Non-profit organizations also do their part to bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of getting treatment and recovery for alcoholics and addicts.

The general public has been more difficult to convince, though, since negative behaviors associated with the disease directly impact them.  So there is no parade for those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction following alcohol and drug treatment.  The best that recovering individuals can do is to display the good behavior they learn.

Each recovering individual must first become aware that, on a personal level, the publics’ overall perception doesn’t matter.  The goal of recovery is to become the person you were before alcohol and drugs took over your life.  That means that, while you suffer from a disease, it doesn’t define who you are.  So understand that uneducated comments are not personal attacks directed at you.  

An element of the disease of addiction is tunnel vision, where the perspective of others goes unrecognized.  It is a part of the growth process in recovery to understand and cherish one’s own beliefs, while remaining humble enough to let others disagree due to their own life experiences.  Let others speak for you on a public level until you have learned this.

People disagree all the time from simple things like favorite ice cream flavors to global issues.  When confronted with those whom are misinformed from your perspective, it is best not to argue since a confrontation will only prove their point.  If your workplace rights have been violated, there are laws to protect you under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Above all, do not let the opinions of others affect your motivation for recovery.  You are a good person who may have done some bad things.  In recovery, you have the chance to correct negative behavior, and make up for mistakes of the past.  Any person in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is a benefit to society as a whole, and we hope that someday the whole of society will recognize it.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment that includes introduction to the 12 Step programs.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol or drugs, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Websafe Recovery: Protecting Against Pro-Drug Internet Content

by James Heller 16. September 2009 10:40
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Adolescent alcohol and drug treatment does not end when a patient completes a program.  The entire family needs to continue recovery through support groups, and by working to make changes in the home.  Many parents will run into trust issues during this time, and find it difficult to keep drugs out of their households.

Recovery is a daily process.  Families join their teens in recovery by working on their own co-dependencies in support groups.  Any family affected by drug addiction would benefit with this course of action.  But the teen addiction recovery process brings another element in that parents feel responsible if drugs re-enter the home.

Advancements in technology have made it difficult to maintain a drug-free home.  It is very easy for a teen to purchase drugs over the internet at online pharmacies.  But that’s not all.  There is a growing list of sites that not only promote drug use as healthy, but also “educate” visitors about lesser known drugs and how to obtain them.  These sites actually promote the sharing of experiences with substances that can cause serious damage or death.

Until now, web monitoring software and services have targeted pornography.  WebSafe plans to change that trend.  This new website offers services and software that aim to prevent teens from using home computers to reach sites that sell drugs or discuss use.  The services reach far beyond these and include the ability for parents to video conference with each other and get expert advice from professionals.

The WebSafe website requires free registration to join.  Some information about the site’s purpose is below, followed by the link.  Families impacted by teen drug abuse can certainly benefit from the resources that are now available, making long-term recovery possible for their children.  

-- Begin external content --

Managing the problems of addiction is complex.  We have introduced the LIFEGUARD product as a first step in our creation of a broad community of consumers and professionals exploring the challenges of substance abuse.  And while we recognize that user control software is not for everyone, we hope that you will join with us and become a vocal member of a community of concerned individuals that want to help each other understand and manage this complicated and chronic disease.

It’s time to use the web for what it does best – connect people, information and institutions – which we think our collection of information services will allow you to do.  Our RESOURCES  service is a starting point and one of the nmost basic things we will be bringing to our growing community membership.

-- Source: https://www.websafeparent.com/websafe/ --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment that includes family groups and alumni support.  If you or your teen needs help with drug abuse, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

San Fernando Valley Rally for Recovery and March

by James Heller 15. September 2009 13:57
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

The San Fernando Valley Rally for Recovery and March was attended by several hundred people in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  It was an effort to bring awareness to the community about recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction in celebration of Recovery Month 2009.  Former child star Johnnie Whitaker (Family Affair, Tom Sawyer, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters) led the proceedings with that same cheeriness that was a reminder of yesteryear.

John welcomed attendees with a short introduction of the agenda, followed by some pre-march cheerleading practice.  The crowd followed along with his chants, and even managed to perform a pretty good “wave”.  He also thanked representatives who were on hand from L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas’ office, and read a letter to the crowd from comedian Rip Taylor.  The energy was very positive.

Tony Littlehawk followed John’s welcome with a Native American blessing, with a suggestion that attendees pray to whichever power they prefer.  Afterwards, Tony was asked what he would tell the general public to bring awareness about Native American alcoholism and drug addiction.

“It’s this younger generation that we’ve got to reach, because they’re the future.  And if we don’t straighten them out now, we’re going to have problems with people running the country… We need to show them how serious this is; that <drug use> is not all about having fun.”

Dr. Edward Moore spoke about the science of addiction and the sad fact that those suffering continued to be viewed in a negative light by the general public.

“We have begun to understand some of the neurobiological basis of this disease and one would think that as a result we would also have made leaps and bounds in overcoming its stigmatization, yet our gains seem modest.”

The featured speaker was Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe Award-winning, Hall of Fame song-writer, singer, producer and actor, Paul Williams ("We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "You and Me Against the World," "An Old Fashioned Love Song" "I Won't Last a Day Without You" and "Let Me Be The One" "The Rainbow Connection", and "Evergreen" from A Star is Born).

“About half of our system of recovery is love and service.  So that’s why we’re here, and to show the world how grateful we are, and that there’s hope for the hopeless.”

One aspect of alcoholism and drug addiction is the insecurity that sufferers feel with themselves.  Mr. Williams drove the point home by explaining his experience, given all of his accomplishments:

“It’s exhausting, explaining things you know nothing about.  I’m no longer a jet pilot.  All the things I lied about being when Paul Williams was loaded.  There was some piece of me inside my chest that it isn’t enough when <I was> on alcohol and drugs.  I became insecure and I’d start lying about who I was.  For me, the biggest change is I’ve really become comfortable with who I am.”

Almost everyone in attendance once battled with alcoholism or drug addiction.  But a passerby could only assume so from the large signs surrounding the rally, and the A.W.A.R.E. t-shirts.  It was a display of what recovery is all about; gently leading individuals out of their own personal hells, and giving them a new way to live.

Smiles were everywhere on the faces of speakers, volunteers, and attendees.  Some attendees listened closely to the speakers, while others milled around and just enjoyed the day, taking in a word of wisdom here or there.  It was probably the most polite rally ever seen on this mall that houses the local IRS offices.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles was honored to play a key role in the organization of this event.  Our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment stretches beyond our doors to the community at large.  After all, the work we do is not only meant to help our patients, but everyone they come in contact with after treatment.

We provide alcohol and drug treatment for adults, youth, women-only, and a culture-specific track for Native Americans.  If you need help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

A Spiritual Recovery

by James Heller 11. September 2009 14:41
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction does not require religion for success.  But most 12 Step programs suggest a belief in a “power greater than ourselves to restore us to sanity”, so it may sound like it to some.  This statement in Step 2 has been known to drive devout atheists and religious fundamentalists away, but it shouldn’t.

Alcohol dependence and drug addiction, by their very nature, are diseases that create strong beliefs in sufferers.  These beliefs arise or are strengthened as a way to justify behavior.  In early recovery it is likely that any challenge to some of these beliefs will be met with resistance.  When this is the case, a little open-mindedness can go a long way.

A lot of the confusion that goes with early recovery comes from the shattering of many long-held beliefs in individuals.  They will hold on tight to beliefs relating to religion or a lack thereof.  Somehow the resistance to change makes them feel safe.  This can stand in the way of growth.  But letting go in recovery brings a sense of freedom and willingness to move on.

Here is a good place to start:
You don’t need to believe in God to begin growing in recovery.  The important thing is to know that you are not God.  You have no control over anything outside of the body in which you reside.  Take suggestions from those with long-term recovery and see if they work.  The odds are that they will work, and you will begin to experience growth.  This is known as willingness and open-mindedness.

For the atheist, nobody is telling you that you are wrong.  You are only being asked to try something that works for others.  When prayer is suggested, simply clear your mind and try it.  At worst, your mind will be better prepared, through meditation, for the day to come.

For the deeply religious, nobody is telling you that you are wrong.  You are only being asked to be open-minded to the beliefs of others, and let them grow at their own pace.  You have the opportunity to gain greater faith in the higher power that you already believe in.

Chapter 4, We Agnostics, in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous goes into detail about the struggles that some face with spirituality in recovery.  An excerpt is below, followed by a link to the entire chapter.  If you fit the profiles in this article, this chapter can answer a lot of questions.

-- Begin external content –

Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves.  Obviously.  But where and how were we to find this Power?

-- Source: http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_bigbook_chapt4.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol and drug treatment that includes introduction to the 12 Step programs.  Our Native American alcohol and drug treatment track includes traditional spiritual activities.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol or drugs, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Don’t Risk Your Recovery

by James Heller 11. September 2009 10:14
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Those new to recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction often hear the slightly tongue-in-cheek remark, “You only need to change one thing about yourself in recovery – Everything!” While it is not literal, the point is that individuals should consider change in all aspects of their lives to prevent relapse.  Alcoholics and drug addicts must cherish recovery and avoid risky situations.

Daily activities for alcoholics and drug addicts revolve around substance use.  Events are scheduled around use, or even for the purpose of drinking or using drugs.  So new social habits need to be formed and old ones disposed of.  This often includes saying good-bye to old friends and acquaintances with whom activities were shared.

It doesn’t mean that all friends must be left behind.  In most cases, loved ones will be relieved and ask what they can do to help.  But some will think they are being kind by saying things like, “I’m sure you can have just one” or, “You can still smoke pot, right?” These are not friends because they only care that they are losing an excuse they use to continue their own substance abusing activity.

There are few reasons for recovering individuals to enter drinking establishments, like bars and clubs.  The few generally revolve around employment.  These occasions call for some creativity in risk avoidance.  The first gathering is the most difficult, and it gets easier in short time.

People at these gatherings tend to encourage alcohol consumption, and will ask what you are drinking and why it isn’t a cocktail.  Some folks will order drinks like ginger-ale or iced tea that look like cocktails, thus avoiding these questions.  But this may be a relapse trigger for many, so you can simply say with confidence, “I’m not drinking today.”  When pressed, you can give the most honest answer, “I found out that I’m allergic to alcohol.”

No matter where recovering individuals go, or who they are with, their sobriety must take top priority.  It is best to avoid situations where alcohol or drugs are present.  But when it is unavoidable, an escape plan must be made.  There is always a socially acceptable alternative to drinking alcohol or using drugs.

Don’t risk your recovery for anyone or anything.  Remember that only good things can come from abstaining from alcohol and drug use.  Tell your friends in recovery about unavoidable events, and ask them to be prepared for a call from you.  You will be surprised that these events are more enjoyable without alcohol or drugs.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  A big part of our treatment program is relapse prevention, because our goal is long-term recovery for all of our patients.  If you or a loved one needs help with drugs or alcohol, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.